Archive for August, 2012

Gingers: The Legends, The Science

August 27, 2012 1 comment

Gingers. We all know one, maybe fear one, or in my case, are one.  The term ginger has been commonplace in the UK for a long time, but has only just picked up steam here in the US and,  I think I can pin point the exact point in time when that happened. It would be November 9, 2005. Or the original air date of South Park’s Ginger Kids episode.  For anyone who hasn’t seen this episode, this will explain everything:

It’s #6

This particular episode was hilarious to me, although it did illuminate certain stereotypes and phobias that had originated in Western Europe where the highest concentrations of red heads can be found. The more I looked into the different myths and facts about gingers the more awesomely weird things I stumbled upon so I thought I’d share only the weirdest of my findings.

The Legends

Ancient Gingers

In ancient Egypt having red hair was thought to be a sign of being a vampire, and no one wants those sparkly things around so what did they do? Many red heads were sacrificed to the gods. So it was kind of a two-fer. The Egyptians got rid of their pesky vampire problem AND they appeased the gods.  I think this is sick, although I find it interesting that gingers were ever found in a desert. Did they get lost? Surely people that pale wouldn’t choose to be there.  At this time period I assume that someone with my coloring or similar, should be in Ireland guarding a tiny pot of gold.

Medieval Gingers

Being a red head in the Middle Ages wasn’t a lot better than the ancient times in terms of stigma. Red hair was thought to be a mark of insatiable sexual desire and loose morals.  But wait, there’s more!  Gingers were still thought to be vampires, and now, if you have red hair and green eyes that was a dead giveaway for a witch. The red hair was thought to be a sign that you had made a pact with the devil himself.  Witch and Vampire stuff aside, insatiable sexual desire? I’m not sure how that one got started, I don’t particularly think my desires or other gingers’ is out of control. Unless I saw that guy who played new-kid Michael from Salute Your Shorts. He would GET IT.  One more odd fact, it was thought that the fat from a red headed man was the key for an ointment that warded off plague. So you know, gross.

Nope. Not Real.

Post-Revolutionary War Gingers

This is where it starts to get weirdly specific. It was thought that the act of a ginger breathing on your skin was enough to raise blisters. This was because of the whole witch/ vampire thing and making a pact with the devil. You know the old “selling your soul for eternal life’ bit. It was also thought that gingers  had a particular smell that was described as “Foxy.” Now I have never actually picked up a fox and sniffed it, but I would imagine that considering the twice annual bathing habits of people at that time, we all smelled a little musty. It was also said that if you had one child with red hair and then one with brown there was ‘bad blood’ in the family. I think they were just jealous; being ginger takes a lot of getting used to, to be so god-damn good looking.

The Science: We’re Mutants, kind of

The gene causing red hair was discovered in 1997, and was called gene MC1R. This is huge because the Ginger gene could now be traced, identified and showed that if you have it, parts of you are different from the Normals without it.

Science-y bit: The MC1R gene is occurs when there is a mutation on Chromosome 16 in a DNA sequence. The mutation is caused when both of the recessive alleles for red hair are present in both parents.

You didn’t skip the science part right? Bill will know!

It hurts being ginger

It’s only recently become apparent that MC1R has influence over other aspects of features besides just hair. MC1R also affects the way your brain responds to pain and pain killers. According to numerous studies, gingers have a higher pain threshold than people lacking the MC1R gene. This was proven through putting gingers and Normies through a series of electric shocks. Scientists claim the tolerance is different because of the protein strands that dictate how pain is managed that the ginger genes affect. (I could get into it but it’s super boring) The same studies show that gingers feel a broader spectrum of pain, so I don’t know if having a higher threshold is all that great. It also takes about 20% more noxious stimuli (laughing gas) to knock us out.  So essentially we are like really mediocre X-Men. OR The second lamest of the Street Fighter characters you could choose from. I say second lamest because no one ever chooses Chun-Li. Am I right?

Florence Welch is kind of a superhero

Are we going extinct?

As it stands now, red hair is the rarest type hair color. Gingers make up only about 1-2% of the world population. Several geneticists are speculating that red hair is likely to die out in the near future. However, several others are dismissing those theories as bogus. All I know is that I have a new pick-up line I’m using “Did you know that gingers are an endangered species? No? Well, want to be a hero?”  Too scary, right? It’s not all gold.

Suffice to say there are plenty of bad things that people have said about gingers in the past and current day. In fact, the term ‘Ginger’ is considered derogatory and has inspired many bouts of Anti-gingerism all over the world. One notable incident happened in November of 2008 when a 14 year old in Vancouver started an event called National Kick a Ginger Day which amassed about 5,000 members. The group was then subjected to an investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for possible hate crimes. That kid was probably a dick in the first place but I’m sure it was scary to be investigated; even if it was by the Canadian Mounted Police.

Don’t be afraid of us because we’re different. Also, don’t kick us, we bruise easily.

There is one last thing I’d like to address about gingers and that is that we are often times portrayed as lame or not tough. Perhaps some of us are, but while I was looking into who was a famous ginger I found this out. One of the most notable and charismatic military men of World War II was a ginger. They called him “Copperknob” (HAHAHA) in England and he was Winston Fucking Churchill.

“The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is”

Gingers are lame?  We are awesome, your argument is invalid.

  1.  Garreau, Joel (March 19, 2002). “Red Alert! An Often Misunderstood Minority Finds It’s Become a Mane Attraction”. Washington Post: p. C1. Retrieved 2011-02-15.
  2. National Geographic, September 2007
  3. “redhead, n. and adj.”. OED Online. Oxford University Press. June 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
  4. ^ a b Valverde P, Healy E, Jackson I, Rees JL, Thody AJ (1995). “Variants of the melanocyte-stimulating hormone receptor gene are associated with red hair and fair skin in humans”. Nature Genetics 11 (3): 328–30. doi:10.1038/ng1195-328. PMID 7581459.
  5. “Men make gods in their own image; those of the Ethiopians are black and snub-nosed, those of the Thracians have blue eyes and red hair.” Xenophanes of Colophon: Fragments, Xenophanes, J. H. Lesher, University of Toronto Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8020-8508-3, p. 90.
  6. The Life of Agricola, Ch. 11

7.             Harding, Rosalind M. et al. (April 2000). “Evidence for Variable Selective Pressures at MC1R”. American Journal of Human Genetics 66 (4): 1351–1361. doi:10.1086/302863. PMC 1288200. PMID 10733465.

8. HGNC Symbol Report:HCL2


Honey Boo Boo Is Bad For America

August 20, 2012 5 comments

I didn’t want to watch it. I didn’t. I had heard the rumors and had seen promos for Honey Boo Boo, but was adamant that this was not something I was going to subject myself to. I was determined to save my snarky self from what was sure to be an hour of slack jawed viewing. It’s been  two weeks since the premiere of Honey Boo Boo, and I relented out of sheer morbid[ly obese] curiosity. So now, I’ll get into the horrifying details, and the impact I think this piece of entertainment has.

TLC, the same network that brings us Long Island Medium and My Strange Addiction, has rolled out a show entitled Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. TLC does actually stand for The Learning Channel, but really TLC? Who are you trying to kid at this point; you have a show about people who eat toilet paper as an ‘addiction.’ Here Comes Honey Boo Boo stars six year old Alana Thompson, aka Honey Boo Boo, who was a break out star from the show Toddlers and Tiaras, also by TLC. Alana ambled onto to the small screen and effectively stole the internet’s heart with her quirky sayings and sassy ‘only gets stage-time during the day, second string stripper’ delivery.

I really want to punch her in the face. I know she’s just a child. I KNOW.

The show revolves around Alana and her family who live in McIntyre, Georgia. It’s bad enough that when I Google things about Georgia, it auto-finishes my questions with: “Where in Georgia can I…marry my cousin.” Now Georgians have to deal with this shame too? Anyway, to add to their charm the Thomson family has nicknames that they all go by. I’m praying these were thought up by some sadistic producer, they go as follows:

  • June: Mama (Ok this is not actually a nickname, TLC)
  • Dad, I never caught his actual name: Sugar Bear (Huh? He’s a chalk miner not a pimp)
  • Laryn 12: Pumpkin (Ok, not bad)
  • Jessica 15: Chubbs (And we just nosedived.)
  • Anna 17: Chickadee (I’m assuming this is also her stage name)

I suppose the premise of the show was to follow the Thompson family around as they prepare Alana for her upcoming beauty pageants. However, clearly the real point of HCHBB is to showcase the Thompsons in all of their rednecky glory. It is a 2012 version of the old travelling medicine shows, complete with freaks, storytelling, and I’m sure, a flea circus of their own.

Cringe worthy moments I barely got through:

The Etiquette Coach:  Honey Boo boo and Pumpkin both had an etiquette lesson after Alana had received feedback from pageant judges that she needed to be more refined. I’m not totally on the side of the woman who was the etiquette coach, because she seemed like an elitist asshole, but I feel like the Thompson kids caused her to have some sort of breakdown. Throughout this segment you hear the coach say “Very good” in a hesitant I-don’t-know-what-else-to-say way after single thing that happens. It may be the editing, but I like to think that she just short-circuited and kept defaulting to that particular statement as a coping mechanism.

Bobbing for Pig’s Feet: Instead of apples, they used a Tupperware full of pig’s feet as part of a ‘celebration’ activity. Um, I’m not a vegetarian by any means. In fact, I have been looking up ways to make my own bacon infused vodka to make kick ass bloody marys with, but this was just….I can’t even…No amount of Pepto Bismol could ease my stomach if I was ever forced to do something like that.

Chickadee’s Sonogram: So there was a moment of science when the Thompsons went to go see a sonogram of 17 year old Chickadee’s baby. What should have been a sweet moment was just a weird amalgamation of questions and talking about biscuits (what the Thompsons call vaginas). Chickadee also asked the sonogram tech “What’s a[n] abdomen?” Can we make this a rule: If you don’t know which body part is your abdomen, you cannot have sex with other humans until you figure it out.

Well these don’t look delicious anymore. Thanks for ruining this too Thompsons.

All and all, I think that TLC had more than enough fodder to create a total caricature of the Thompsons. It does appear that they are a functioning family unit that looks out for their own, but clearly that was not the point of the show. I would say that they are being exploited, but I get the feeling that June “Mama” Thompson is going into this with eyes open seeing only dollar signs. I hope whatever money they bring in betters their quality of life, but only time will tell.

This show did push me over the edge in terms of my disdain for TLC.  Essentially, all of their shows are based around people who seemingly choose to live these totally ignorant lives. By giving these people television shows, it gives their incuriosity validity. Obliviousness for the world and other facets of life should not be treated as a cute personality quirk. Ideally, that type of lifestyle should be frowned upon, not get you a paycheck. In an increasingly global world, this type of mind set will eventually rear its ugly head and will take us all down. Honey Boo Boo is mind-numbing brain Novocain ya’ll.

Nothing illustrates this mentality more than child beauty pageants. It indoctrinates into little girls and boys that the way they look is of the utmost importance, far beyond any of their other features in terms of priority. Their looks must be up kept for strangers that create a panel of judges who don’t know them at all. Strangers that look like they would be in the news for befriending and then killing elderly people. And TLC keeps coming out with more and more shows about these pageantry freaks.

So you might be saying, what’s so bad about pageants? Is it really bad that little kids want to look nice? And also maybe, it’s just silly entertainment that we all like to watch.

I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it.

This outlook and ignorance of the world makes it ok for people like this to be famous:


Look at it. LOOK AT IT!!

Yes, the Kardashians. Famous for being famous, and all of them are totally clueless to the world around them. There will be more of these people if this acceptance of idiocy continues.

What have you done TLC? .

College Road Trips And the Best Threat Ever

August 13, 2012 Leave a comment

I’m not sure about all of you, but I could fill a book with crazy/fun/weird/possibly illegal stories from my years in college. College is an amazing time when cretin-like behavior can be gotten away with, and you’re broke but so is everyone else so who cares? Everyone is on a level playing field, and we probably all had some sort of inflatable furniture you used as actual furniture; also very likely a futon you would never want to take a black light to. It was dynamic and crazy and I miss those days very often. I tell stories from a wheel house of those years to fill any awkward gap in conversation. I’m not sure how to measure it, considering it is so subjective, but I think my college years and friends I made during that time are better everyone else’s in all the land/interwebs/galaxy. (For people that are wondering I went to Elon University)*

There is one story in particular that I find hilarious, but it’s sometimes hard to gauge how people will take it. The punch line, and easily best part of the story, is just a string of expletives which was fashioned into the best threat ever. Ev-er. Sometimes after I’ve said it, I’m  met with a terrifying pause and polite laughter which means I just offended the hot guy I was talking to, and clearly we didn’t know each other well enough for me to drop a story bomb like that on him.

Yeah I missed the mark on this one.

So I’m submitting it here, for the interwebs to judge it:

It was spring break of my senior year, and my group of friends decided to roadtrip it down to Destin Beach where we were most certainly going to be kicked out of the state of Florida forever post-trip. We split everyone up into three cars, and planned to leave at the crack of dawn to make the 12 hour trek. I was in my best friend Scott’s car, and also riding with my boyfriend at the time, Ben.

Somewhat current photo of how awesome things are when Scott and I have adventures

As far as road trips go, there is one rule you have to abide by if you are a passenger: Do not fall asleep. Falling asleep is an open invitation for the annoyed, very tired driver and other passengers to fuck with your slumbering self. This rule is unequivocally acknowledged.

When we hit the road Scott was driving, and I was in front, while Ben was in the back seat. In the trunk was enough college caliber liquor and beer to keep an elephant herd drunk for a week, so being vigilant on the highway was of particular importance. It also was an insanely long drive, so I was determined to stay awake to keep Scott company, and maybe grab the wheel if perhaps the 5 am wake-up call got the better of him. It didn’t, but we also were all hyped up on mini powdered donuts, cheese poofs and gas station coffee. Ben, however, did not power through.

As soon as we got in the car Ben conked out. Scott and I knew at the moment. It was on. Ben had abandoned his driving captain and first mate for peaceful sleep and we were not having it. Our prank was simple: Scott was going to brush his hands around in a circle on the wheel as if we’d lost control of the car, and I was going to turn around in my seat while we both screamed at the top of our lungs. So after we got to a particularly vacant part of the highway Scott started doing his part and I turned around screaming and it probably sounded like this:

Then Ben, ripped from sleep and thrown into chaos, recognized immediately what we were doing and yelled the best threat of-all-time:

“You guys are both assholes and Scott I’m going to SKULL-FUCK YOU IN THE EYEBALL

Yup. Skull-fuck. It’s a thing. It’s a threat. Just drink that in for a second.

Ben is usually very mild mannered so it just made the whole thing even more hilarious. Also, and kind of disturbingly, after he had yelled at us he passed immediately back out into deep sleep. He slept the entire way to Destin making me wonder if he had been bitten by a tsetse fly, but I think those are only in Jumanji. Whatever, college was a weird time, it was a possibility.

Oh boy, looks like Ben got to this guy.

Anyway back to skull-fucking: We laughed about his threat all week during spring break. Although skull-fucking in and of itself is actually no laughing matter. I know this because I looked it up online and attracted a bunch of really weird malware to my hard drive. Don’t ever Google this subject it will kill your computer. It also makes for an awkward conversation with the IT guy trying to fix your computer.

I always think about this threat when I meet someone who is particularly deserving of a good verbal beating. (Like that guy who keeps talking over you in a group conversation with outdated and overused jokes about how all women should be in a kitchen…yeah…that guy deserves a good skull-fucking) Friends, keep this threat as a trump card in the back of your mind when you need a final flourish to add to the end of an argument.  You will always win.

Car Flirting will F**king Kill You

August 6, 2012 2 comments

Disclaimer: If you are already a terrible driver or are newly licensed, the following tips are NOT intended for your use on the roadways. You would probably clip or kill someone like me and that would suck.

So I live in Atlanta (as the title of this blog asserts.)  Atlanta is known for its terrible traffic. Every year this city lands itself in the top ten for being the worst in congestion, and by and far I’d say that’s accurate. Although when I bring that up to anyone who lives in ANY other city, they will always argue how their city is the actually worst.  As if it’s some sort of traffic-penis measuring contest. Here’s a truth bomb: I don’t care about how you got stuck on the I 85 for 2 hours, I’m pissed you interrupted my story about how I thought I saw Jason Bateman sitting in traffic next to me . I suppose what this pissing contest indicates is that we live in a world where traffic and long commutes are more common than not.  They can be stressful and something must be done to alleviate this terrible dilemma we now find ourselves in.

This would have been an awesome story

Never fear, I have created a list of 5 techniques you can use in your own car to ease your traffic woes:

  1. The Somber Music Video

This particular technique works the best if it is raining, but it doesn’t have to be. The idea is to put on a serious or sad song and pretend like you’re in a music video whilst looking out your window. Hand gestures are particularly important, I like to take the back of my hand and slowly slide it down my driver’s side window for effect. If you can do this while sitting at a stoplight and staring directly at the person stopped next to you, extra points.

Suggested Songs:

Kiss From a Rose, Seal

Everybody Hurts, R.E.M.

Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth, Primitive Radio Gods

*Any song by the Weepies*

Do not smile. It will kill this moment

2. The Celebrity Interview

In my city there are a number of morning radio shows to choose from. (I don’t suggest listening to one unless you are forced to by someone sitting in your car with a white hot cow brander pointed at your temple) I’ll say with the utmost certainty that the people who host these shows are the most obnoxious type of person you can encounter. There is one particular morning show here that is massively popular, and the people that host it are terrible garbage people who pander to their audience by spouting off opinions (most likely not theirs at all) that are meant to drum up shouting phone calls.  I want to kick them in their faces. However, they do get some good celebs on the show.

For this tip, all you have to do is answer the questions the morning DJ’s ask the celeb they have in studio. The more boring the celeb the better. Here’s an example of how this becomes fun:

Awful Morning DJ to Simon Cowell: So Simon, what are you up in your free time when X factor isn’t filming?

Your doctored Simon Cowell answer:  Well I’m trying to stage a comeback for roller blading, so I held an event in London last week called the Roller Balls. No one showed up except for Paula Abdul, so we decided to do whip-it’s in a dumpster nearby.

See, isn’t he much more interesting now? Suddenly, you have a new source of gossip!

Suggested boring celebs to answer for:

Gwenyth Paltrow

Tobey Maguire

January Jones

Spice it up people.

3.The Song Writer

With music becoming more homogenized these days, listening to new songs can become confusing. Are you listening to the same songs over and over again? Kind of.  The differences between modern day manufactured artists are minimal, so I say mix it up and put in your own flare with new song lyrics!


My Version of Carly Rae Jensen’s, Call Me Maybe chorus:

Hey I just met you

And this is crazy

But the number you gave me at the bar didn’t work

So I followed you home

And climbed in your window

Wow. Who knew Carly was so fucked up?  I did. I knew she was.


4. The Car Dancer

Here is where my disclaimer at the top really comes into play, because this tip requires the most movement.  This one is a dance. First you must select awesome tunes to shake your thang to.

The dance starts in your shoulders, to the beat: Up down Up down

Then get a chin nod going. (Beware of duckface so keep those lips in control)

Now is where it gets sexual. Throw an occasional belly roll in the mix. If you can’t do a belly roll just hump your seat, it basically looks the same.

There, now you’re having fun AND you’re burning calories! One thing though, do not dance with your right leg. You need it to push the accelerated and more importantly the brakes. Never forget this!

Suggested Dance music:

Good Vibrations, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch

Loud Pipes, Ratatat

1940, The Submarines

*Anything song off of the original Jock Jams CD*

5. The Pale Thigh Driver

This final tip is only for use when you have an exceptionally terrible commute or road trip ahead of you.

Drive. Without. Pants.

That’s right, take off those britches/jeans/jeggings (weirdo) and get comfortable, it is going to be a long ride. The no-pants technique works because of all the extra sensation you get that you normally do not feel when you’re constricted to the social norm of lower body garments. It works best if you have a leather interior. Puttin’ skin on skin baby!

So there you have it, those are my tips for staying sane on the road. I’m not saying these tricks are the definitive way to keep yourself amused, but they certainly work for me.

I will leave you with one final nugget of car wisdom that I feel very passionate about. Do not car flirt.  By this I mean making eyes, blowing kisses, or air humping to other vehicles around you. I never condone this and don’t do it because of this:

I have a friend Polly* who is a serial car-flirter. I was riding in her car one day, and we were stopped next to a fellow in a rust bucket that looked like it was a Buick and Cadillac welded together. She turned to me and said, “Watch this” and proceeded to blow kisses and yell things like “Heeeey.” (She somehow made ‘Hey’ three syllables.)  This elicited an excited bunch of whistles and engine revving from the rust bucket driver who looked like Sling blade. I freaked the fuck out! Sure, in Polly’s mind this was all in fun, but that dude was probably a serial-killer-rapist-baby puncher. I knew he was going to kill us. He was going to follow us home and make a quilt with our hides. The car flirting continued on for what seemed like 30 minutes, I don’t really know I think I blacked out, and yes he did follow her car for 17 agonizing miles.

French Fried Pertaters

And then he killed Polly.

Ok no he didn’t, but don’t do that people. You’ll get yourself killed!

Also car flirting puts out a whore-y vibe from your car and no amount of sage burning gets rid of that.

Happy driving folks!

**Name changed to protect the insane

If you think of other somber songs, dancing songs, or celebs you want included tweet me @OdetoFunny

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